Iraq car bomb blast kills five, including US soldier

AFP, Google News, May 27, 2009

BAGHDAD (AFP) — A roadside car bomb blast targeting a US patrol killed five people, including an American soldier, west of the Iraqi capital on Wednesday, an interior ministry official and the US military said.

Ten other civilians were wounded in the explosion as the US patrol passed in the town of Abu Ghraib, 15 miles (25 kilometres) from the capital, the official told AFP.

"The blast killed one US soldier," a US military spokesman said.

Separately, the US military announced that Navy Commander Duane G. Wolfe was among three Americans killed on Monday when the vehicle they were travelling in was hit by a roadside bomb near the western city of Fallujah.

The US military command had previously announced that an American soldier, a civilian employee of the State Department and a Defence Department worker were killed in Monday's blast.

The US embassy named the slain State Department employee as Terrence Barnich, deputy director of the Iraq Transition Assistance Office.

The men died on Monday when their car drove over a bomb while were returning from an inspection of a waste water treatment plant under construction in Fallujah, ambassador Christopher Hill said in the statement.

At least 21 US military personnel have been killed in May so far, making it the deadliest toll since September, when 25 American service members died.

The latest deaths brought to 4,303 the number of American soldiers killed since the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, according to an AFP count based on the independent website

The US army is only a month away from pulling out of Iraqi urban areas ahead of a full-scale withdrawal by the end of 2011, as mandated by an accord between Baghdad and Washington.

Abu Ghraib was once a hotbed of Al-Qaeda and other insurgents and home to the infamous jail of the same name, which is now called Baghdad Central Prison.

The facility came under the international spotlight in 2006 after a scandal of prisoner abuse photographed by US jailers drew worldwide opprobrium on the US-led occupation.

Under Saddam Hussein's regime, the jail was notorious for torture and executions.

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